As I am sure many people do, I share the sadness of letter writer Marilyn Crowley (Jan. 30) over the death of Tyler Doohan, the young boy who lost his life in a house fire in upstate New York recently, after having saved the lives of six relatives. There can be few tragedies in the world more heart-sickening than the death of babies and children by fire.
Crowley stated that when she learned of the news, she was reminded of a verse in Chapter 18 of Matthew’s Gospel, which refers to all children: “In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father.”
But, I was reminded of something far different.
In a book titled “Night,” Jewish author and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel gave an account of his time in the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz in 1944. Though only 16 at the time, he was a wholehearted believer; but that first night in the camp he witnessed a nightmare that permanently shattered his faith.
“Never shall I forget the little faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky,” he wrote. “Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.”
Those Jewish innocents weren’t burned alive like Tyler; before being incinerated in outdoor pits, they were gassed to death in what were deceitfully termed “shower facilities,” together with their screaming mothers.
Their angels in heaven, meanwhile, were busy beholding the face of God.
William LaRochelle, Lewiston